How Vehicle Make and Model Affects Your Insurance Rates

How vehicle make and model affects your insurance rates depends on the car you drive. Bigger, boxier models have higher rates because they can cause more damage in an accident, while older models will have lower rates because they cost less to compare. To mitigate a vehicle's make and model effects on your policy, start comparing multiple quotes online to find the best coverage. You can use our free comparison tool below.

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Rachel Bodine graduated from college with a BA in English. She has since worked as a Feature Writer in the insurance industry and gained a deep knowledge of state and countrywide insurance laws and rates. Her research and writing focus on helping readers understand their insurance coverage and how to find savings. Her expert advice on insurance has been featured on sites like PhotoEnforced, All...

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Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insurance...

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Reviewed by Leslie Kasperowicz
Farmers CSR for 4 Years

UPDATED: Apr 6, 2021

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A number of factors go into the cost of car insurance – including everything from your ZIP code to your driving history. However, your vehicle’s make and model can also have a significant impact on your premiums. Today, we’re explaining everything you need to know about how vehicle make and model affects your car insurance rates.

What is the difference between comprehensive versus liability insurance?

First, it’s important to distinguish between comprehensive and liability insurance. Liability insurance is the bare minimum coverage required to drive on the road. It’s the policy you need to legally drive. It covers any damages you inflict on other people or property during an at-fault collision.

If you have basic liability, then your vehicle’s make and model will have a limited impact on the price you pay for car insurance coverage. After all, liability insurance doesn’t cover your own vehicle – it covers other vehicles and people you might damage. Whether you’re driving an old Ford Fusion or a new Toyota Tundra, your insurance company isn’t covering the value of your vehicle after a collision if you only have liability coverage.

If you have comprehensive or collision insurance, however, then your insurance rates will be affected by the vehicle’s make and model. With a comprehensive or collision policy, your car insurer is required to cover the value of your vehicle. That’s why a newer or higher-end vehicle will cost more to insure than a cheaper, older vehicle.

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Do you pay more for coverage on newer vehicles?

Generally speaking, your 2018 Honda Civic is going to be worth more than a 2010 Honda Civic, all other things being equal.

That’s why it’s probably going to cost more to insure a newer model year vehicle than it costs to insure an older model-year vehicle. Make, model, and year have a significant impact on car insurance premiums.

Do bigger, boxier vehicles cost more to insure?

Typically, the make and model of your vehicle doesn’t have a significant impact on basic liability car coverage rates – at least not compared to things like your driving history.

However, there is an exception to this rule: bigger, boxier vehicles can come with higher liability insurance costs than smaller vehicles.

Though some things like trims level and interior additional features, the base model, engines, and body styles can impact your rates.

The reason is simple: it’s because bigger, boxier vehicles can do more damage to other vehicles on the road. You’re going to cause more damage if you smash into someone with your Ford F-350, for example, than you would if you were driving a Smart Car. Your insurance company might charge higher premiums for this reason.

Does it cost more to insure a more valuable vehicle?

If you have collision or comprehensive on your vehicle, then your vehicle manufacturer is required to cover the cost of your vehicle. Your insurer needs to pay to repair your vehicle, for example, or cover the replacement value of your vehicle.

That’s why you’re going to pay more to insure a high-end, foreign, luxury vehicle than you would to insure a lower-end domestic vehicle. The manufacturer of your car can have a significant effect on the price you pay for collision and comprehensive coverage.

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Does your model also affect insurance policy prices?

For the same reasons above, your vehicle’s model will have an impact on car coverage prices.

The SE, SEL, and GT are all different versions of the same vehicle, for example. Depending on the value of your particular model, you might pay more or less for car coverage. Typically, a sports edition or higher-end model will come with higher prices than a lower-end model.

Do the safety features of certain makes and models affect your rates?

Insurers analyze hundreds of factors to provide a quote. One thing they look at is the safety features of your vehicle. Vehicles with more or better safety features will typically have lower car insurance prices than vehicles with no safety features. That’s because if the vehicle is involved in a collision, then the safety features can prevent significant damage to the driver and passengers of the vehicle, which means the insurer doesn’t have to cover costly medical bills.

An insurer might charge lower insurance premiums for a vehicle with airbags, for example, compared to a vehicle without airbags. Car alarms, anti-lock brakes, and other safety features can also impact car insurance prices.

Your insurer will look at accident data to determine which vehicles are associated with more serious injuries than other vehicles.

Do the higher rates of theft for certain makes and models have higher rates of theft?

Certain vehicles are easier to steal than other vehicles. Thieves are more likely to target these vehicles. If your vehicle’s make and model has a high rate of theft, then your insurer might charge higher premiums for comprehensive coverage.

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What is the conclusion?

The year, make, and model of your vehicle all have a significant impact on rates. However, you can expect your vehicle’s make and model to have a more significant impact on collision and comprehensive car premiums than on basic liability premiums.

Remember: the make and model of your vehicle is just one of many factors that go into premiums. Car insurers also look at your driving history and other factors to calculate your rates.

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